The Riviera Maya in Mexico is a breathtaking destination: its pre-Hispanic archaeological ruins of the Mayan culture and its turquoise beaches will make anyone fall in love.
Although Cancun, the main city of Quintana Roo, is a place with a lot of movement and nightlife, tourists who are looking for a few days of relaxation away from the city usually choose quieter suburban areas.
Between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, there is a small island called Holbox. This place, whose name means “black hole” in Mayan, is a very popular destination to rest during holidays, and it is located inside Yum Balam, an area of Flora and Fauna Protection.
A history of adventure
Holbox was once a land of pirates, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries due to its strategic location, and then, it became a land of refuge for survivors of a Mayan social rebellion in 1847. Today it is a small and relaxed paradise, with long beaches and colorful murals.
In this article, you’ll know the best places to visit in Holbox island. If you’re looking for a quieter destination in the Riviera Maya, to swim in crystal clear waters, read a book in the shade of palm trees and sip a margarita under the sun, there’s no better place than Holbox.
A magnificent trip to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel Island or any other place in the Riviera Maya needs good accommodations. That’s why Barceló Hotels offers you places to stay and enjoy this earthly paradise: check out the black Friday all-inclusive vacation deals and enjoy Mexico’s most precious tourist treasure. For more information on the destinations, please visit the following link: barcelo.com/en-us/offers/black-friday/
The best places to visit in Holbox
The town and its urban art
Although Holbox is mainly a beach destination, this island also has its charms in its streets.
The main square is the heart of the village and around it are cute little shops, cafes, restaurants, ATMs and lots of street art. Here, people get around on foot, by bicycle or golf cart because the roads are dirt and…. they are not practical for cars!
Only the western part of the island is accessible, and it only takes an afternoon to explore it. On your walk you’ll see barefoot hippies, travelers in search of the perfect photo and holboxeños (local people) sharing their friendly little land.
Beach clubs on the shores of crystal-clear waters
The main attraction of Holbox are its beaches. There you can lay out your towel, sunbathe or play in the sand, and take a dip in the sea. However, the most pleasant option to enjoy it is to go to a beach club and use its facilities on the beach, in exchange for a drink.
Some recommended beach clubs in Holbox are Mandarina Beach Club, La Playa de Ñaña, Punta Caliza or BarBarossa. In each of them you will find beach bars and restaurants offering typical food and drinks, as well as board games, sun loungers, umbrellas, beds and much more.
If your plans are to spend a whole day on the beach, the best option is to buy a day pass at a Holbox hotel that offers it. The concept is simple: you pay a fixed amount for access to the facilities (sun loungers, shower, towels, Wi-Fi) and you can use a portion for consumption (food and drink).
Punta de Cocos and Punta Mosquitos
Punta Mosquitos is a wide, shallow beach, full of small shells, turquoise waters and is ranked as one of the best beaches in all of Mexico. It is accessible by bicycle or golf cart up to a certain point. After that you can only continue walking because the place becomes a bird conservatory. Along the way you’ll also see kite-surfing beaches.
Punta de Cocos, at the opposite end of the island, is an uncrowded beach and its best attraction is its bioluminescence show at night throughout the year.
Holbox Animal Shelter
Although not a purely tourist activity, it’s worth a visit.
The Holbox Animal Shelter is a sanatorium for abandoned animals that, after treatments that include feeding, physical and mental rehabilitation, are put up for adoption. The shelter offers visitors the chance to meet the animals and even walk them.
An ideal place for water sports
Holbox beaches and coastal areas are perfect for water sports. In Cabo Catoche you can practice scuba diving and get to know its coral reefs, practice kayaking in the mangroves, fishing and even swim with the whale shark; as well as take a boat tour and visit Isla Pasión, the Yalahau cenote or Isla de Pájaros.
Mexican gastronomy at the sea level
Holbox’s main source of food is the sea. However, there is no shortage of places to eat good pork tacos, tamales, ceviches, aguachiles or chilaquiles.
The island’s specialty is lobster pizza, a meal that mixes the international with the local menu, as well as shrimps with guacamole, which are a delight! Also, in the restaurants and hotels, you’ll find a variety of classic food for tourists such as pancakes, muffins, omelets, and some more original ones like Le Colibri’s homemade compote with toasted coconut chunks and coconut milk.